In principle, involving communities in planning, right now, from the outset is the way forward.
Trouble is (and be honest!), are you relishing the prospect of planning meetings to discuss zebra crossings, industrial estates and housing allocations?
No, I thought not.
And I really think this lack of interest and confidence is what developers are counting on.
My personal concern is that without mentoring and "CBT" (Community Biodiversity Training) to create well-informed communities, the developers get to decide what's in the public interest all over again. CBT would include bug hunts, bat walks, campfires, wild food eating and games of hide and seek. This is my kind of planning.
I'd be interested to know your thoughts too.
Here's one opinion I heard today: "If developers are able to make a profit, then the fact that the profit exists means they must be doing something right".
This was from somebody with an ability to make a decision on behalf of many, many people.
I recognise the need to feed my family and so, yes, profit can be good.
However, financial gain for one small company is one thing.
Net loss of biodiversity and community access to wild spaces; the subsequent increase in car use, busy roads, poor mental health, litter, pee-filled bottles, obesity, isolation, habitat fragmentation, less water, more flooding... are all long term, hard-to-calculate costs of insensitive development, regardless of whether it's called "sustainable urban expansion".
This is conveniently overlooked when making the economic calculations.
If someone wants houses or industry then biodiversity is easy to ignore, especially if local communities leave it to other people to record and notice on their behalf.
There's a mutual ignoring of wildlife, or worse still, a taming of it in play parks and landscaping. Wildlife-free housing estates with road names like "Sparrowhawk Way" and "Green Lane" are all our futures if more of us don't turn off the telly and actively celebrate wild green patches everywhere.
Please go for a picnic this weekend?